Organisations face unprecedented pressures to do more, and better, with less. To prosper, organisations must reduce capital and operating costs and increase flexibility and adaptability, while creating a workplace that helps attract and retain the highest quality of staff and enables them to work to their fullest potential. This paper reports on a recent study of how different types of office solutions, from closed offices and cubicles to team‐oriented bullpens, influence communication patterns, and how these, in turn, affect work effectiveness factors such as decision speed, organisational learning and the building of trust. The findings suggest that, contrary to conventional wisdom, more open team‐oriented environments support work effectiveness of individuals and teams better than do more closed environments such as cubicles. They do this while reducing cost and increasing flexibility. Implications for office planning and design are discussed.
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